A Belfast-based technology start-up that has created innovative new software to support families, educators and organisations working and living with autism has started a campaign to raise £50,000 in funding to launch the platform into the market.
Limejar founder Debbie Craig, a mother of four from Belfast, has combined her experience of raising her autistic son with her skills in software development to create the platform, called Boop.
The software is designed to engage with every person important to the autistic child, including the child themselves, bridging the gap between home, health and education through an intelligent interface tailored to needs of each user.
Debbie’s son Nicholas, was diagnosed with autism during her first year of a university degree in Computer Science. During this time Debbie worked hard to understand her son’s autism and his actual day-to-day needs across essential relationships with carers, teachers or family members. She grew frustrated with the lack of effective tools available to aid her son’s development and also felt in the dark regarding his education and health because the people delivering these services did not communicate effectively.
Within a year of graduating from Queens University, Debbie developed a beta version of Boop to tackle these inconsistencies and has been fine tuning the software with Nicholas. She has since raised £70,000 in grant funding and completed the Propel Programme, an incubator for start-ups with high growth potential.
Now, her company Limejar, is aiming to raise £50,000 through a crowdfunding campaign on Kickstarter to bring to market a product she believes could help autistic children and their families globally.
She commented: “Children with autism need a connected support system of carers, teachers and parents. Boop provides a link between all of the important people in a child’s life, as well as children themselves. It will provide data that carers can use to support the child’s development and provide autistic children with opportunities to develop of self-awareness, self-management and independent learning skills.
“There are growing numbers of Autism diagnoses in Northern Ireland, but awareness and support for families is growing too. Funding the next stage of development will allows us to complete Boop’s development and make it available to families who are looking for new and better ways to support their child’s development, with backers being the first get their hands on the finished product.”
The team behind Boop believes that every child with Autism benefits when the important people in their lives connect and the software has been endorsed by a number of experts in the field.
Frank Quinn – Principle Lecturer at St Mary’s Teacher Training College said: “Boop is exciting, it’s imaginative, it’s progressive, it allows for parents, teachers and pupils to enter a community of conversation. It reduces isolation, encourages interaction, and allows for targets to be set, achievement to be maintained, reached and developed. But more importantly allows for success to be celebrated.”
The next round of funding launches via Kickstarter on Tuesday 23rd August.
For more information and see a video of Boop in action, visit www.limejar.co.uk/boop